COVID-19, Asthma and Allergies

Find out what you need to know as an allergy or asthma patient

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Overview

Updated November 3, 2021

As COVID-19 and the Delta variant continue to impact people across the United States and the world, allergists still hear concerns from their patients – those with allergies and especially those suffering from asthma. They worry that having asthma means they’re at increased risk for developing symptoms from COVID-19 if they are exposed. They are also concerned about allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines, and they wonder if their symptoms will be more dangerous if they have the virus. Studies have indicated that those with asthma are not in fact at a higher risk for developing symptoms from COVID-19 or being hospitalized if they become infected.

The allergists of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology have information and tips to share. We are making every effort to keep our information updated and will be linking to the most current news on the virus to keep you in the loop.

What do you need to know if you or a family member suffers from asthma? Read the points below for more information.

  • ACAAI, along with the CDC, recommends everyone who is eligible get a COVID 19 vaccination. The College recognizes that COVID 19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID 19 disease, especially severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. COVID 19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading the SARS CoV 2 virus, and their effectiveness outweighs any risk associated with receiving the vaccines.
  • Respiratory viruses are the most common trigger for asthma exacerbations (severe worsening typically requiring oral steroids to relieve symptoms).
  • Not all viruses affect asthma patients equally. Some viruses such as influenza and rhinovirus are more likely to trigger asthma flares than others.
  • Presently the data does not suggest that COVID infection will trigger asthma exacerbations.
  • There is no clear evidence that patients with asthma are at any higher risk of contracting COVID-19. There is also no evidence that asthma medications used to prevent symptoms (inhaled steroids, oral steroids, montelukast, biologics, etc.) increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Be aware that local public health agencies set requirements for mask wearing, along with the CDC.
  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
  • Contact your physician if you become infected with COVID to discuss possible treatments such as monoclonal antibodies.
  • Use caution and avoid experimental treatments unless the treatment is specifically recommended by the physician caring for you.

Recommendations

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends:
  • Continuing or resuming your asthma routine that helps you control your symptoms.
  • Using short acting rescue medications as needed for symptoms.
  • Following your asthma action plan if you have one.
  • Following CDC guidelines regarding infection control, vaccines, hand hygiene, social distancing, etc.
  • Contacting your allergist if you have questions about your medications or if your symptoms seem to be worsening or not under control.

How to Tell the Difference Between COVID-19, Asthma and Nasal Allergies

Symptom COVID-19 Asthma Allergies
Dry cough
Mucus/postnasal drip
Chest discomfort/pain
Shortness of breath
Wheezing
Fever
Sneezing
Nasal and eye watering and itching